By David Kolb
The Muskegon Chronicle, November 26, 2012
If your intelligence isn’t insulted by the phony posturing of Republicans over the Benghazi tragedy, with their rain barrels of crocodile tears and pretend outrage for the dead, then you may not have any intelligence to insult.
Personally, I thought the GOP would slink away and manufacture a more plausible crazy conspiracy about President Barack Obama then the one they have concocted implicating him in the deaths of Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans this past Sept. 11 in Libya.
Stevens died of smoke inhalation after attackers, presumably terrorists connected to al-Qaida, set the U.S. consulate on fire. Information officer Sean Smith died in the attack’s first stages. Former Navy SEALS Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods were killed defending the Central Intelligence Agency annex.
Certainly, I thought Republicans would try a new ploy after ex-Gen. David Petraeus exploded the major GOP-inspired myth of Benghazi. The general, in congressional testimony under oath, said the White House was innocent of authoring a disinformation campaign to hide the salient facts from the public.
Alas, you could go broke betting on Republicans to show some class or do the right thing.
Petraeus, the former chief of allied forces in Afghanistan and most recently director of the Central Intelligence Agency, even while mired in the midst of his own personal disgrace, wouldn’t stoop so low as to exploit the deaths of fellow patriots.
Yet no bar is set too low for the radical right.
As the Party of No would have you believe, Obama and his henchmen in the State Department suborned murder and terror in Benghazi, masterminding a dastardly plan to deny Mitt Romney’s noble bid to become America’s first billionaire CEO president.
It’s a good thing voters understand Romney himself was responsible for his own very timely political destruction.
Going beyond insulting minorities, intimidating women, gay-bashing and threatening Latinos with “self-deportation,” Romney trolled the political gutter when, only hours after the attack on our personnel in Libya, he sought to politicize their deaths before the corpses of these heroes were even cold.
If you remember the original conspiracy theory put forth by Republicans, then you’ll remember Petraeus wasn’t even supposed to testify. You see, the GOP figured all that extra-marital rumpus was part of the plan allegedly designed to put the kibosh on the general.
Typical of that mindset was well-known Fox News “Senior Judicial Analyst” Andrew Napolitano who wrote, “The evidence that Gen. David Petraeus … was forced to resign from the CIA to silence him is far stronger than is the version of events that the Obama administration has given us.”
But Petraeus did testify!
And what he told congressional leaders supported Obama's repeated assurances that the public had been provided with the best available information at the time.
So I guess the fairy tale has to change now to explain Petraeus’ betrayal of the right.
You can ask yourself all day why Republicans are all fast and furious in their denunciation of the Obama administration and the State Department.
You still will not come up with any real answer, since it is all blue smoke and broken mirrors. The GOP will spin you around like a top on the table trying to come up with a plausible answer.
One thing they won’t want to explain are their cuts to embassy security around the world prior to the Benghazi attack. The attack succeeded, by the way, because there wasn’t adequate security to defend the consulate there.
The Drudge Report, not exactly a left wing website, ran this report on Oct. 12:“For fiscal 2013, the GOP-controlled House proposed spending $1.934 billion for the State Department's worldwide security protection program -- well below the $2.15 billion requested by the Obama Administration.
“House Republicans,” Drudge went on, “cut the administration's request for embassy security funding by $128 million in fiscal 2011 and $331 million in fiscal 2012. (Negotiations with the Democrat-controlled Senate restored about $88 million of the administration's request.) Last year, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warned that Republicans’ proposed cuts to her department would be ‘detrimental to America's national security’ -- a charge Republicans rejected.”
Damning. This is Drudge! Democrats should be screaming this from the rooftops.
The solitary thread on which the GOP is hanging its fake outrage is the explanation that United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice originally put forth for the Benghazi attack.
But her early account of the attack was based on the initial intelligence community assessments and was always subject to review and updates.
Nevertheless, the Republicans, having failed to get anything on Obama and Clinton, want Rice’s scalp now for having misspoke -- even though she did nothing wrong and acted completely within agency protocol.
So what the whole Benghazi charade has boiled down to is Republicans deep in their tantrum over semantics -- adjectives, nouns, verbs -- that the party claims is proof of some conspiracy for which they have no smoking gun.
Shameless. Brazen. Disgusting. There are few more apt words describing this smear campaign. But they are best applied to the GOP.